What Is a Reverse Outline?

Outlines are commonly written for almost any kind of writing such as term paper, research paper, essays, movie scripts, and the like. It is the framework that makes a written piece of work solid and cohesive. This serves as the guide on how the writing should be done.

But did you know that another form of outline exists? It is called the reverse outline. This is a useful tool for writers in checking their work. In doing a reverse outline, you need to read your draft again. In a separate piece of paper, write the main points of each paragraph. Take out all the supporting details and leave the most important ones. Reverse outlining allows you to see the structure of your essay and make changes for the better. It is a condensed version of the essay itself.

Reverse outlines help you in determining if your essay reaches its expectations. You will know that through the main points of the essay. From there, you can polish the ideas or simplify them. It also gives you an idea about the paragraphs that you have to expand and add more information on. Sometimes, we may forget a few crucial pieces of information that can give more context to your writing. Furthermore, reverse outlines can help prevent your readers from getting caught in a paragraph that makes no sense.

Here are a few more reasons why you should use reverse outlines.

1. Revision

Reverse outlines help you in determining whether two paragraphs have one idea. Consider combining and simplifying them to avoid redundancy in your essay. Two paragraphs that have a similar point are quite a headache to the readers.

2. Multiple topics in one paragraph

If some paragraphs deal with more than one topic, you can write them separately. You can put each topic into focus and expand them. This is to ensure that your readers are not misled and can follow the flow of your essay.

3. Review the structure

Reverse outlines help you in reviewing the structure of your essay. After reading it, you have to rearrange paragraphs, cross out some, and possibly rewrite the whole thing. Put yourself in the shoes of the reader. This will help you understand how important it is to have a clear structure of ideas in writing.

4. Paragraph length

The length of a paragraph is determined through reverse outlines. Write more if it is too short. Rephrase if it is too long. Reverse outlines help you to see your average paragraph length, and find short and long paragraphs.

5. Going back to the main idea

Reverse outlines make you see if the paragraphs of your essay go back to the main idea. New ideas usually come out at the end of the outline and this calls for a revision. All paragraphs should relate to the main idea and must be cohesive.

Writing is the kind of art that does not happen in one go. It needs to be refined again and again to ensure its quality. It is all about content and the moment we decide to write something, we are expressing a part of ourselves for the people to read. Your writing may have some flaws along the way, but learn from your mistakes and never lose the drive to write more.

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